CAHA 2014

My first CAHA tournament! Finally, no mountain bike camps or Florida tournaments scheduled on top.

Game 1: Sirens

Due to scheduling unserendipitousness and a daily diet of Cheetos, I totally screwed myself over for tonight’s fast paced game. Nads kept asking me if I felt okay. Yes, but NO! I felt like I’d been eating Cheetos every day for the last two weeks! Which I had. I did this to myself.

Final score: 0-2. At least the shot count wasn’t totally wack. 17-21. Okay.

Game 2: Lady Sharks

I held off on the Cheetos today and my legs felt way better. Totally needed it against the Sharks, who are only really in our division this tournament because there isn’t one higher. Totally didn’t need it because I only ended up skating 2 periods. Hello, blindside check to my head. I didn’t even have the puck, and the game wasn’t close.

Not gonna be negative about anyone here. Just gonna say that I skate with and for some really awesome peeps.

Final score: 1-6. Everyone played extra hard toward the end. It was great to watch.

Game 3: Team Abby

Team Abby is tomorrow. I won’t get to play that game, so I’ll call it a tournament and publish early. Go Black Stars, kick some booty!

Stick It To Cancer!

Black Stars do Minnesota! Lots of firsts for me this weekend:

– Visited the Mall of America.
– Went to an oxygen bar (at the Mall).
– Got to experience the giant ice facility that is the Schwan Super Rink.
– Learned to score keep. (More like, I got thrown in the scorekeeper’s box with 3 minutes of training. Learn by doing!)

Game 1: Stanley Cup Cakes

10 seconds into warmups, we knew we’d been placed in the wrong division. It’s always hard to know what to do in a situation like that. Is it worse to score a lot or to try not to score? Is it possible to not score while not looking like you’re not trying to not score? It’s a bummer for both teams to end up in a game like that.

I ended up scoring our first two goals. Waited in the slot for the puck to squirt out from a scrum and put the first one in with a backhand to the far post. Shot the second one from point blank straight at the goalie, but it bounced up and over her and into the net.

Final score: 7-0. I heard someone say afterward that it was the other team’s first game together? I feel kind of bad that their first game was such a mismatch. I hope it wasn’t too un-fun.

Game 2: Quench Crushers

This game was a mismatch as well, but a little less so. I scored two goals again, the first on a tip off Sandra’s shot and the second on a one timer up close after, wait for it, I called for the puck! Yes, I remembered to say something. Amazing!

Final score: 7-0. Margie had a hat trick. It’s great to see how well she is playing these days.

Playoff: Whitetails

Another game, another opponent upgrade. Their goalie was pretty good too, and we had to work for our goals. I scored off a rebound that squirted to the far post after Linda did all the work getting the puck down the ice through two defenders. Linda is playing awesome these days too. I love watching my teammates improve.

Got an assist in the 3rd period after Frannie called for the puck and threaded one through the five hole. Thanks for giving me an outlet!

Final score: 3-1.

Championship: Flurries

For the championship, we might as well have been shooting against a wall. The other team’s goalie was super solid.

I managed one more goal for the weekend when I cycled the puck up, saw an opening to cut across, then shot the puck low through tons of traffic. I needed a 5 person screen to score on this goalie.

I’m not even kidding, I think at one point we had a 3-on-0 with 3 or 4 rebounds and she stopped them all. She was fun to watch.

Final score: 2-0. Champions?

I’m glad our games got progressively more difficult this tournament, but I still feel bad that the matchups weren’t even. Still, I like that the tournament is for a good cause, so hopefully we can come back next year in a higher division.

– – –

As I was talking to John after the tournament I realized I didn’t do my thing to work on, thing I did well, thing I could do better each game. Then I realized I don’t do that when I play Black Stars hockey because I’m so focused on executing the things we worked on at practice. I guess that’s okay. I’m still working on something, just with a team focus instead of an individual skill focus.

Chix With Sticks

My first travel tournament with the Black Stars this season! Also my first visit to Idaho… LAND OF MOUNTAIN GOATS!!1!

I did not get to see any mountain goats while I was there. But I did get to play a lot of hockey.

Game 1: Wild Avs

Travel day woes? We managed to outskate the other team, but played wicked sloppy. I’ve never seen so many puck bobbles in a single game. Oh, and hello, elevation! Ow, my legs.

Margie put one in for us late in the game, but it was not enough to overcome our bobbles. Final score: 1-2.

Game 2: University of Idaho Vandals

We got our act together for the following afternoon’s game. Nads put a couple in early, which always seems to get me going because I want my line to keep up. I finished with a couple goals as well, first off a wide open rebound after, as John put it, “my linemates did all the work,” and a second on a 2-on-1 where I actually managed to look at the net behind the goalie for my shot.

Favorite goal of the game: Linda’s breakaway top right corner snipe.

Final score: 2-1.

Game 3: Boise Wildcats

Hello, meltdown! We have at least one of these per tournament. While I don’t get particularly down about things when this happens, I do get super serious, which I think makes me more tense and less fluid. I had a chat with guest coach Rob about this after the game, and decided that since I play my best when I’m happy and loose, I should try to avoid the serious. Plus, if I’m happy and loose, maybe it’ll rub off on my teammates.

I also talked to coach John about how I played this game, and asked for one thing I could work on for the next game. Basically, I felt like I was skating in useless circles, which I was, and which he saw as well. It was good to leave the rink with something to think about for the next day.

I did have at least one good moment late in the game along the left side offensive boards. Came racing in for a puck with an oncoming defender, one hand poked it just past her, and did a quick spin to get by. Kinda twirly-like and stuff.

Final score: 0-4.

Consolation Game: University of Idaho Vandals

8am game + first morning of Daylight Saving Time + one time zone ahead of home + 2 hours of sleep the night before. We played surprisingly well! We still lost, but it was in a shootout, and Erin made this super sweet shootout move for a goal that had us all like O.O. It was seriously smooth.

We gave up a goal early on, and that’s when I started to sing and dance along with the overhead music before faceoffs to keep myself loose. Had a lot of fun in the process, and skated much more useful in-the-play circles throughout the game. The best part was, afterward a couple of our forwards said my singing and dancing reminded them that we’re here to have fun, so they started to sing and dance too, which helped them stay positive.

Got my first on-purpose mid-air tip-in this game off a Sheri shot from point. Saw the puck coming, realized it needed to turn toward the goal, got my stick blade on it, and watched it fly past the goalie and into the back of the net. Woot!

Final score: 1-2.

– – –

This was a fun weekend despite the game outcomes. I’d never done a tournament weekend in a house before, and I am happy to report that my inner introvert and I both survived. Heck, it was even fun. I’d also never been to Idaho, and I am happy to report that it’s a nice place to visit. It’s pretty, people drive the speed limit, pull over in passing lanes, and are generally relaxed and quite nice. It sounds kind of weird to be pointing that last part out, but I really wasn’t sure what to expect because half the people I told about this trip beforehand responded with, “Idaho? I hear there are a lot of white supremacists there.” What the heck, people?

The next time someone tells me they’re going to Idaho I get to tell them the people there are really nice. Yay.

MLK 2014

Game 1: Team Abby

My first game with the Black Stars this season! Also my first real tournament back.*

I was pretty excited going into the tournament, but like I told Hanh earlier in the day, my goal for this game was to not fall and land on my butt again. I’m pretty sure if I injure it again before it’s fully healed I’ll have to stop playing for a while.

We came out playing like doodie because that’s what we do, especially at the beginning of a tournament. We gave up our first goal because I jumped the gun on a breakout pattern and when the other team ended up with the puck in front of our net I wasn’t there to defend against her.

I made up for it in the 3rd period when I chased someone down, rubbed her out along the boards, and sent the puck back the other way. Linda ended up with it and scored. Yeah, Linda!

Final score: 2-3. Hopefully we’ll get another crack at this team for the championship on Monday.

For coming back from IR and rubbing someone out, I was given the Most Inspirational Player game puck. Here it is on the shelf with the 2010 MLK MIP patch, 2012 MLK MIP puck, a Crash Test Barbie, and the tail of a Tremors dinosaur (also from an MLK tournament).

* The NCWHL holiday tournament was for fun and doesn’t count. That’s not to say MLK is not fun, and no I don’t know what it counts for.

Game 2: Barnaby Bears

I forgot to mention that I played center in yesterday’s game. This is a change from playing D all last season. We had 13 skaters yesterday: 2 D pairs and 3 full forward lines.

Tonight, one of our right wings was out sick. We started the game with 3 left wings, 3 centers, and 2 right wings. After the first period, I switched to right wing and we ran 2 centers.

I haven’t played wing in well over a year, maybe two. I had a pretty tough time handling the first few breakout passes along the boards. >.< After a couple shifts, I adjusted and went on to score two goals. Maybe I should play wing more often?

I was pretty happy with the first goal because it’s a play I’ve been practicing on my own for a while now. It’s not fancy, just repeating something I think will work. And it did. I took the puck behind the net from left to right, turned right to come back up while looking for (or pretending to look for) a pass with the puck on my forehand. With all the D focused on coverage, I could skate up to better my angle. Then, when I had enough angle for a decent shot, a quick backhand.

My backhand didn’t go in, but the puck bobbled to the other side of the goalie. I got there first and pushed it over the line.

The second goal was off a rebound with the goalie already down. All I could see was net up high. Part of me automatically moved to shoot high while a little voice in my head said, “OMG don’t mess this up,” and a loud voice somewhere around me said, “HIGH!” Thankfully that automatic part didn’t mess it up. Relief! And hooray for practicing my shot over and over and over. And over.

Practice. I cannot praise it enough.

Final score: 6-3.

Game 3: Pandora

Played a much closer game against a more evenly matched team Sunday afternoon. In the end the difference came down to one of their players making a great run through 3 of us down the length of the ice and putting a second effort shot into the net.

I felt pretty crappy this game. Almost thought I was going to pass out between whistles. Felt fine when I was skating, though. Low blood pressure? Weird.

Maybe it was my pre-game DMD?

It tasted as bad as it looks: Like radioactive antifreeze. How was this ever a habit? Blech!

Or maybe it’s because I was feeling off to begin with. To make myself feel better I ate a Five Guys burger after the game. Imagine my surprise when it worked!

Final score: 0-1.

Semifinal: Pandora

Rematch! We did way better on shot count this time, outshooting the other team 2:1. Then in the 3rd period some of them started playing like assholes. It culminated in a hit that took out Frannie. Frannie, of all people! That’s like kicking a puppy. Who did it? Search my blog archives and take a guess.

Years ago, after a game, maybe even an MLK tournament game, Keisha the ref said to me, “You know, when you get knocked down you can pop right back up instead of spinning out on the ice.” From that day on, I’ve adopted that approach. Today, when I got knocked down, I popped back up and into the play without missing a beat. And I said a little thank you to Keisha, like I do every time.

Final score: 1-0.

Championship: Team Abby

Another rematch! This one didn’t go as well on the scoreboard, but it was a much more civil affair. No assholes, just competitive hockey. I scored our lone goal on a rush with Margie in the 1st period. After actually remembering to holler that I’d corral the loose puck, I picked it up, approached the net on the left, saw net up high on the right, and put the puck there. No thinking, just reacting. I’d like to have more of those moments. Thinking takes too long.

Also, since one of our left wings had to work today, I played the 1st period at center while we ran 2 left wings, then switched to left wing while we ran 2 centers. I was able to make the mental switch after about a shift. Better than on Saturday!

Final score: 1-3. Normally I’d say “2nd place is 1st loser” but our consolation mini beer steins are actually the same as the ones the 1st place team got. I’d take a picture for you but glass isn’t all that exciting.

I finished with 3 goals this weekend. Not bad for my first real tournament since returning to hockey!